Return to MAIN (index) page Return to main THINKING GAMES page ABSTEMIOUS    

This game can be played competitively by 2 or more players - or you can play alone.  All players will require pencil and paper.



You will need a set of 25 prepared cards, 5 each of the 5 vowels (A E I O U).  These vowel-cards are thoroughly mixed before each round of play and placed in a pile (face-down) in the centre of the playing space.


The first player turns over the top 3 vowel-cards and places them (in the order in which they were turned over) where all players can see them.  The next player decides whether to "play" or "twist".


If this player decides to "play", then all players compile their own list of words containing the displayed vowels (and no other vowels) in the order in which they are displayed.  (Proper nouns and foreign words are not allowed.)  It is sensible to agree a time limit for this phase of the game.




  • If the three displayed vowels are A I E, my list of words might contain ALIVE, SALINE, AIMLESS, ARMIES, etc.

However, if the player decides to "twist", then that player turns over the next vowel-card and may place it anywhere in the sequence of displayed vowels.




If the next vowel-card is O, options open to the player are:

  • O A I E

  • A O I E

  • A I O E

  • A I E O

The next player must now decide whether to "play" or "twist".





After each round, players tally their points. 


In a round where there are 3 displayed vowels, each valid word scores 3 points.  Where there are 4 displayed vowels, each word scores 4 points, etc.


Play continues for a set time period - or until a player reaches a pre-agreed target (say, 100 points)



It is a good idea to have a dictionary handy - and all players agree to abide by the ruling of the dictionary.



NOTE:  The name of the game is derived from a word that contains each of the 5 vowels - in correct alphabetical order.